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The History of the Armistice

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The History of the Armistice

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You’ve probably heard someone say, “It’s 11:11, make a wish!” The number 11 is supposed to be lucky. To the soldiers fighting in World War I, it was.

World War I began in 1914 following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austria-Hungarian throne, according to Robert Green’s book, World War I. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia (where the assassins were from), and their allies were pulled into the fight. This began the Great War, initially only involving Eurasian countries.

The war raged on, involving more and more countries. The United States, under Woodrow Wilson’s presidency, chose to remain neutral for three years. They provided weapons, equipment, and other supplies to both sides of the war—the Allies and the Central Powers.

Following the sinking of a passenger ship, the RMS Lusitania, and the Zimmerman Telegram, citizens of the United States pushed Woodrow Wilson to join the war. He met with Congress to request a declaration of war. According to Stewart Ross’s book, World War I, Congress agreed on April 6, 1917. The United States was now involved in the war.

The United States joined the war opposing Austria-Hungary and Germany. The U.S. sided with the Allies, which included Great Britain, France, Serbia, Italy, and Russia (before they withdrew from the war).

A little over a year later, the Central Powers were starting to crumble. According to Green, the Austrians surrendered to the Italians, the Hungarians dissociated themselves from Austria, and the Allies moved in on Germany. The German army held strong, but Kaiser Wilhelm II didn’t.

On November 10, 1918, the last emperor of Germany fled to the Netherlands, according to Green. The remaining government of Germany met with the Allies the following day.

Ross, Stewart. World War I. World Almanac Library, 2005.

“At 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918, Germany and the Allies signed an armistice that brought all hostilities to an end,” Stewart Ross wrote in his book, World War I.

November 11 became known as Armistice Day and was celebrated as marking the end of the Great War. Peace conferences began in January of the following year, 1919. In these conferences, President Wilson proposed his Fourteen Points, which included an international peacekeeping organization, the League of Nations.

The terms of the Treaty of Versailles and other treaties signed following the end of World War I were humiliating for the losing side, according to Ross. These humiliating terms led to World War II twenty years later, where the United States was pulled into the war again once it was in full swing.

Wars that followed World War I included the second World War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, among others. Within these wars, many lives were lost. This is why Armistice Day would eventually become known as Veterans’ Day. It still falls on November 11, but now it serves as a day to remember soldiers that lost their lives in the wars, as well as men and women currently serving.

November 11, 2018 marks a hundred years since the signing of the armistice. Around the world, countries held events to honor the end of World War I and those that died fighting in it. In Washington D.C., there was a parade celebrating the hundred years that have passed since the Great War ended.

The signing of the armistice meant an end to bloody battles, where soldiers risked their lives living in muddy trenches. At 11 a.m. on November 11, the bloody battles ceased. The soldiers could leave the war behind, returning to being civilians instead. Maybe the end to the war was their 11:11 wish.

 

Campfire History: The Soul of Halloween

From Samhuin to Halloween and Everything Inbetween

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Campfire History: The Soul of Halloween

Photo by: Aaron Stone

Photo by: Aaron Stone

Photo by: Aaron Stone

Photo by: Aaron Stone

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Halloween is a holiday like none other, it’s the one day out of the year where everyone dresses up, face their fears, and go bother all the neighbors into giving enough candy to last until the next Halloween. Many wonder where this destructively- delightful day came from.

 

The history of Halloween began over 2000 years ago from a ritual of the Celtic people, according to a History.com article entitled “History of Halloween.” Long ago, in what is now Ireland, the Celtic people believed that nature guided and allowed them to flourish. In turn, the Celts had many holidays devoted to thanking nature and celebrating its beauty. Although one holiday did not celebrate such things; that day was called Samhain (sah-win).

 

Samhain was celebrated on the evening of Oct. 31, their New Year’s Eve. The celebration focused on the ending of summer, it’s harvests, and preparing for the cold and dark winter ahead.

 

To the Celtics, winter was associated with death and during Samhain it was believed that the spirits, both good and bad, returned. They believed that if they did not ward off the evil spirits, their harvest would be destroyed by the ghosts.

 

In 43 AD the Roman Empire overtook the Celtic territories and adopted some of their beliefs, one of which was Samhain.

 

The Romans had a holiday like Samhain at the end of October, called Feralia. A day that honored the passing of the dead, and a day which honored Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees. This is the believed beginning of apple bobbing since Pomona’s symbol was the apple.

 

During the 9th century, the Celtic and Christian beliefs began to diffuse as the Christians moved to Celtic territories. Come 1000 AD, the church created another holiday that was similar to All Saint’s Day called “All Souls’ Day” taking place on Nov. 2. All Souls’ Day practiced most of the same things as Samhain, but the costumes were of saints, angels, and devils instead of animals. All Saint’s Day also began to be called All-hallows or All-hallowmas “From Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day,” according to History.com. So the name and practices of the day continued to change, traditionally Samhain to the Celts, now called All-hallows Eve, and eventually Halloween.

 

When the American colonies began Halloween, it was not commonly practiced in the northern states, due to the heavy Protestant system. The southern states were the first to partake in such celebrations called “Play Parties”. This consisted of different American Indian and colonial people -of all kinds beliefs and ethnicities- celebrating the harvest and telling ghost stories, foreseeing futures, singing, and dancing.

About 50 years later, thanks to the large amounts of immigration mainly from Ireland, Halloween hit America along with the idea of trick-or-treating, being called “going a-souling”. When “going a-souling,” kids dress up in ghoulish costumes (outfits with masks 

and torn clothes that made them look like ragged and wandering spirits or monsters) so they weren’t recognized by creatures of the night. Then they would go to their neighbor’s houses to ask for soul cakes (small cakes made to commemorate the dead) and other goods.

 

As History.com stated, it wasn’t until the 1940s’ and 1950s’ that a new way to inexpensively practice Halloween needed to be adopted because of the baby-boom. Thus, the concept of going a-souling was revived under the new name of “Trick-or-Treating”.

 

Since then many films, songs and games have been made about Halloween, and the holiday is more endorsed than ever, with over $6 billion being spent on candy each year in the U.S. alone, according to History.com. This is a frightening amount, showing us just how far an idea from over 2000 years ago can go.

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